To all my LGBTQ friends and relatives: Hallelujah!
Perhaps all this was easy for me because I got to know real people who were different from me—and I liked them. They have enriched my life.
My journey from small town Iowa has been eye-opening. As a youth I was unaware that not everyone was like me. I knew that our community of 25,000 had a Jewish family that lived across the street from us and was well accepted. We had a black family that lived slightly out of town and were well respected. They were both just like me. One of my grandmothers, a widow who had worked at Hull House in Chicago, had raised my father by teaching in small towns throughout Iowa while they lived with families in the towns. She had been particularly focused on bringing education to the black families. She used to take me to black church services when I was very young. I thought we all were the same.
Imagine my surprise when out on a drive with my soon-to-be mother-in-law saw a black family playing on the lawn in a respectable part of town. She said, “Doesn’t that look terrible? This was my first encounter with racism. I knew nothing of same sex couples, but I am sure there were some around—or there were some who would have liked to be around.
Shortly thereafter my first husband and I moved to California: Palo Alto, to be specific, just south of San Francisco. In his first job as principal of a high school I met a teacher there who was gay. He was a lovely person who we got to know fairly well. No problem there. And soon I became aware of the Castro District in San Francisco.
I now have friends my age who have children living in same sex relationships. I have watched as they have seen their children blossom in a situation that is perfect just as I have watched others see their children find the perfect mate. I am happy for anyone who can find their perfect spot in the world.
Most recently in my older years I visited my mother in a retirement home. Across the hall from her apartment were two lovely women who had been together for more than forty years—Jo and Barbara. Eventually Jo ended up in the hospital and Barbara in the health care center. Barbara had no one close who could take her to visit Jo. Once when I was there I volunteered to take he to the hospital to visit Jo. It was a poignant and heart-wrenching visit and the last time she would see Jo.
The time has come to get on with love in life and to love it.